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On the Beat - Senior Edition - April 2018

and we wanted to do

and we wanted to do something more.” Another student added “It is very difficult to balance, you just have to find a way to attend classes, study and to attend work as well.” When they have an upcoming test, they make sacrifices by giving up a shift of work, hoping to work them back at a later stage. They advise others to apply for bursaries if they cannot afford medical school. Sulette de Villiers, a third year medical and MSc Physiology: Cellular Ultrastructure student, said: “As is true for most people in medicine, becoming a doctor has been a longtime dream for me. When I finally received the news that I had been accepted into MBChB at Tuks I was ecstatic. At that point I was in the final stretch of my honours year and I was absolutely in love with research, so I didn’t think twice about pushing to do my MSc while I started my medical studies. I knew that it was going to be the greatest challenge I had ever faced, but I was still excited. The irony and turmoil of being enrolled in two full-time degrees is that you inevitably can’t dedicate the appropriate time or enthusiasm to either. I constantly find myself rushing to class after a blood draw or between experiments; I have to prioritise class over my MSc and find myself racking my brain to perform basic procedures in the lab. However, this has taught me to manage time in a manner which could never be anticipated in either of these degrees alone. I often have that light bulb moment in the lecture hall that explains my latest issue with my MSc, while my project continuously reminds me to put the content of a lecture into perspective and reminds me I want to be a Doctor in research. I could also never have anticipated the support that I would receive from people in both ‘worlds’. The past three years have been the most challenging, exhausting, stressful and rewarding years of my life. Being a medical student has defined my approach to postgraduate studies; and I know that my combined studies will make me a better physician.” Somehow they just had to find balance. We do what we must to survive. Let this be a learning curve to us all, that we should find balance no matter how uneven the ground. Remember, we are here because we are all willing to do whatever it takes. -Appolonia Malapane

Passion for Medicine Celebration was the order of the day when I found out I was accepted to the school of Medicine – not knowing the hardships ahead. The signs of potential failure were there but just like every struggling student, I ignored them. I had three exams for that year but I pushed myself too hard which didn't help much because of the limited preparation time. I passed all subjects, except one. I checked my academic record and I was three percent short of advancing to the next year. I remember feeling this deep pain, tears pouring, stressed. I didn't know how I was going to tell my family that I failed, especially given our financial position. The passion for medicine and the vision I have for my future kept me going, which is why I chose not to go back to work or give up. My life experiences have taught me that I can do everything through God who strengthens me. Those who are ahead of me are not guaranteed to be greater than me. Our paths as people will never be the same, I am an individual and one day I will look back and laugh about all this hardship. Yes, I lost a lot of money with regards to salaries and fees but I am still pursuing my dreams. The time for repeating the block came, oh my goodness, the wounds that I thought were healed were reopened. The pain was unbearable, accompanied by shame. Suddenly I had a striking headache. I always entered the gates of Prinshof campus with such pride but that day I wanted to be invisible, fearing former class-mates’ eyes. I tried to avoid familiar faces just to cope with the situation. Eventually, with time it got better. Accepting my situation was part of my healing process. I have learned that it is better to work extremely hard in order to promote. Failing is not the end of the world, but it is painful and prevention is better than cure. Regardless of your life’s challenges, you will make it. We all have problems, it is about how you manage yours, seek help early when you are struggling. -Anonymous

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